The group mounts up, and Rives cautiously takes the lead on the back of Captain Strakker's impressive stallion. Caedmon, seated upon Midnight, comes up to join in the fore, with Leo, Marin, Butch, and Alelip grouped behind and doing their best to ride with limited or no actual experience doing so. The horses' hooves make deep, resonant thuds as they pound the turf in rapid succession, accelerating from a walk to a loping canter in a matter of a few seconds. The simple rope harnesses that Rives had brought work as crude reins, but the new riders learn that gripping the animal's body between the legs is almost more important.
The hoots and howls of the gnolls become more frequent as the riders pick up pace, making more noise on the crossing of the main road. Seven of the hyena-headed beasts are gathered at the east side of the burned-out camp, and they immediately begin the pursuit through the woods.
Butch takes an arrow from his quiver and sets it to his longbow, trying a difficult backwards shot, but the attack falls short and somewhat to the left.